A recent report from Amnesty International finds that Israel has developed discriminatory practices that have created sever water scarcity for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Much has been made of the potential for resource scarcity to cause violent security issues. In this case it seems that insecurity has resulted in resource scarcity. According to the Amnesty report Israel has prevented Palestinians from accessing the surface water of the Jordan River, dominated use of the Mountain aquifer located under the West Bank, and prevented capital upkeep of sanitation stations in Gaza that are critical to refreshing the coastal aquifer. The impacts of the imbalance land heavily on the Palestinian households dependent on water from these natural sources. Decreased agricultural productivity and high costs to get needed clean water has placed substantial burdens on the economic well-being of affected households. The ongoing violence in Israel may not be caused by resource scarcity but it seems likely that the inequality and desperation caused by discriminatory Israeli water policies breeds societal insecurity.
New reports from the NAS poverty measure show that 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. The news here is that the NAS figure increases the number of impoverished Americans by nearly 8 million over estimates that are based on the census bureaus index. The NAS measure accounts for increased health, transportation, childcare, and regional costs of living that are not equally reflected in the census bureau index.
The discrepancy should raise the question of what qualifies as poor. These unfortunate Americans have a great deal more access to standard human welfare than the 1 in 6 globally who are suffering in extreme poverty and benefit from important domestic safety net programs. I do not wish to disrespect the difficulties faced by those suffering in relative poverty in the US, nor to suggest that our measures of poverty are inflated. However if we are concerned to the point of action by their plight, should we not also take steps to address the crushing needs of the 1 billion living on less than 1.25$ a day.